MAC: Mines and Communities

Indian tribals protest at the proposed Sterlite-Vedanta & UAIL projects in Orissa

Published by MAC on 2004-03-30

Indian tribals protest at the proposed Strerlite-Vedanta & UAIL projects in Orissa


At: Kucheipadar, Via: Kashipur, Dist: Rayagada, Orissa

30th March 2004

Under the banner of Prakrutik Sampad Suraksya Parishad people in thousand came in a rally to Tikiri. The rally was organized mainly to condemn the recent intervention by the government of Orissa and against the Supreme Court order relating to evacuation tribals residing in the reserved forest areas of Kashipur block.

We have been fighting against the Utkal Aluminium international limited (UAIL) a joint venture of Hindalco of India and Alcan of Canada who have come to our land for mining bauxite devastating our land. Protecting the corporate interest the P K Mishra Commission report which was set up for "impartial investigation" of Maikancha firing made in 16th December 2000 gave a clean chit to the UAIL and local police including district administration and political leaders. Subsequently the government of Orissa has started a new method collecting "public opinion in favour of the company" by the southern Revenue Divisional Commission (RDC), an senior IAS officer.

Even after the torrential rain thousand people participated in the rally and shouted slogans against the UAIL, Justice PK Mishra commission and RDC.

The reserved forest areas who are facing the same of threat of displacement came with strong voice against anti-tribal plans of the government at state as well as in the centre.

Several local leaders including tribal leaders from Lanjigada struggle (NSS), Malkangiri Adivasi Sangathan participated in the programme.

Addressing in the occasion Bhagaban Majhi of PSSP announced not to permit any of the leaders of the political parties like Biju Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress to enter into the struggling villages for their coming election campaign.

Later a memorandum was given to the Chief Minister through the local Tahasildar. Main demands were cancellation of UAIL project, non implementation of supreme court order, punishment to guilty in the firing, withdrawal of false cases etc.

At the end, the effigy of Justice PK Mishra and RDC was burnt.

This press release was signed by Bhagaban Majhi, convenor, PSSP

AV Birla group begins work on Utkal project

Suresh Nair, Economic Times

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Mumbai: The garments-to-aluminium Aditya Birla group has begun work on its three-million tonne per annum green field Utkal Alumina Project in Orissa.

Officials in the Orissa government confirmed that Utkal Alumina International (UAIL) has started rehabilitation and resettlement work at the plant and mining sites.

Officials further said the project which is being set up at Kashipur in the Rayagada district is estimated to cost around Rs 10,000 crore, adding that the company is waiting for the elections to end so as to start construction work at the site.

The company is also expected to begin development of bauxite mines at Bapla Mali which will feed the alumina refinery.

"Aluminium is our core business and we are committed to the Utkal project," Aditya Birla Group, director (non-ferrous) and Hindalco Industries managing director D Bhattacharya said. He added the group is serious about the project and that they intend to take the refinery project forward. Officials from the Orissa government have also said that, the company has already secured all the required permissions from the central and the state governments.

According to the government official, the company is currently maintaining a low profile in the state as the Utkal project had met considerable opposition from the indigenous people in the district. He added that the issues have now been resolved amicably.

The implementation of the Utkal Alumina which is a 100% export oriented project was stalled 3 years ago when police opened fire on tribal protesters at Maikanch village in December '00, killing three people.

Indal, which is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries, now has management control of the project as it holds 55% in the project following the acquisition of 35 % stake in the project from Norwegian Aluminium giant, Norsk Hydro which held 45% of the equity in Utkal Alumina.

The Norwegian company exited from the project by divesting 10% in favour of Canadian giant Alcan which already held 35% in the project

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